Insider Tips for Choosing the Right Corporate Travel Agency
When it comes to booking for corporate travel, some organizations assume they can handle all of the logistics themselves. This is especially true for organizations that have in-house travel managers or someone from HR dedicated to this task. To make ends meet and get trips booked, companies will have an executive assistant, HR manager, or sourcing specialist handle travel management.
Unfortunately, as a result, they end up with expensive, out-of-policy, or rogue bookings and an overblown budget.
Without insider knowledge of the industry, the person in charge of travel may not know how their decisions are impacting the bottom line and traveler experience. They can remedy the situation by partnering with a corporate travel agency.
Below is a breakdown on how you can find an agency that can help you book travel with ease and within a reasonable budget.
What the Right Corporate Travel Agency Must Offer
When it comes to corporate travel, convenience isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s a requirement if you want travelers to be compliant. But trying to save time and money by yourself can be overwhelming–especially when you don’t know what you don’t know. Here’s what a qualified travel management company (TMC) should offer to ensure you’re not throwing money out the window.
Easy-to-use, consolidated app for travelers
It’s crucial for corporate travelers to receive real-time updates of their trip, especially for unforeseen delays. It is important for them to seamlessly manage and update their travel profile and itinerary and keep vital information in one place that is accessible anywhere, anytime.
Look for a TMC that provides real-time travel updates through a reliable mobile app, promptly telling travelers of any changes in their itinerary. The same app should offer alternative solutions when these disruptions occur.
High-quality reporting and analytics
To best manage your company’s budget, you need to have and understand data to answer questions like:
● How much was spent on the last business trip?
● Did the employee adhere to the company’s travel policy?
● Is there a way to adjust travel arrangements to reduce spend?
Reports from TMCs will provide answers to these questions that show you the whole picture. Based on the expense report, for example, you will see mileage, dining expenses, entertainment purchases and more.
This data, combined with analytics, lets you adjust your corporate travel program accordingly. Look for a reporting tool that is accessible 24/7, has a user-friendly dashboard, and provides solutions that enhance your travel program.
Ongoing technical support
It’s no secret that adding new apps and booking tools to your travelers’ process can be confusing. That’s why technical support is crucial–for both you and your employees. An agency needs to provide interactive assistance to ensure things are running smoothly. A good TMC will offer tiered support based on your travel managers’ technical knowledge and the extent of technology in place.
VIP travel services
A top TMC knows that frequent travelers need to feel special from booking until they reach their destination. An agency will stay on top of the details of a business trip, updating travelers of any changes in the itinerary–making them feel supported no matter where they are.
And if employees are traveling internationally, your travel agency should go beyond just their accommodations. A great TMC will go a step further by helping them familiarize with the local culture and unique business practices. Their consultants will do the research on your behalf.
In places where safety might be compromised, secured cars and armed drivers are provided. When it comes to safety, employees can also leverage the agency’s partnership with an app like Ava that tells them the safety score of the neighborhood they’re staying in
How to find the perfect Corporate Travel Agency
Relationships with an agency often start with a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP). Doing so encourages you to define your specific needs and expectations in a partnership.
Within your RFP, make sure to create a list of services you require. This makes it easier to match with a TMC that meets your expectations. In turn, the agency will know what you need from them and can determine if you’re on the same page. You’ll want to know that your company’s budget aligns with the TMC’s service fees. Ask your TMC to add detailed rates in their RFP.
Screening checklist for potential TMC partners
By asking the right questions when choosing your TMC, you can quickly narrow down your options. Below are some handy evaluation points that can help you to screen agencies and boil down to the best:
How will you maximize business travelers’ productivity with a seamless experience that prioritizes comfort and safety? What tangible examples can you give?
Adelman’s Elite service, for example, provides disruption services, itinerary monitory and action, twenty-four hours a day. This ensures travelers are kept in the know when a change needs to happen. Other services they’ll enjoy include:
• Access to VIP vacation advisor for leisure travel
• Spouse and family reservation coordination
• Private and charter airline booking
• Airport meet and greet services
• Club lounge access
• Concierge services like scheduling tee times, dinner reservations, spa appointments
• And more!
Do you handle collaboration with all vendors, so we don’t have to (hotels, flights, meeting venues, etc.)? How deep are your connections?
One of the advantages that a TMC offers is that they take the hassle out of dealing with multiple travel vendors. They collaborate with suppliers, so you don’t need to individually deal with airlines, hotels, or rental car companies. And if they’re connected with the best vendors in the industry, they can score discounts for you, saving you money and time in the process.
Technical support for booking tools
How do you ensure your booking apps and platforms are always up and running? How do you support me before and after implementation?
For a smooth, seamless experience, a TMC has a lot of moving parts behind the curtain. That being said, it’s crucial that the agency’s teams are collaborating, communicating, and working cohesively.
At Adelman, we have twenty-member team offering multiple tiers of technical and navigational support. First-tier specialists support your online booking tool and can view and assist online reservations. Second tier team members provide the full implementation, technical support, and management training. Finally, the third tier helps integrate existing technology into online booking tools.
No matter which company you choose, keep these insider tips on file, and you can be sure you’re taking your operation into a strong modern direction. At Adelman, we aim to make your corporate travel an experience to remember. With our team of experts ready to assist you 24/7, you can rest easy as we take care of everything. Contact us today to get started.